North Davis Street redo coming in 2015
The Hammond Village Board voted Monday night at its regular board meeting to get the ball rolling in 2015 on the second half of Davis Street reconstruction.
Greg Adams of Ayres Associates said he will need to update the permits and revise cost estimates for the project because three years have passed since they were done when the southern portion of Davis Street was rebuilt. Adams estimates costs have spiked 15-20 percent since then, and he advised they won’t get cheaper.
Clerk/administrator Sandi Hazer said she spoke to village financial advisor Brian Reilly of Ehlers about the village’s borrowing capacity for the project.
“From an economic standpoint, the borrowing capacity is there,” Hazer said.
She told board members she had Reilly run the numbers with a 10 percent increase to the project’s 3-year-old cost estimates, and he concluded the village would maintain a healthy 20 percent borrowing capacity.
Village President Tony Bibeau said he would like to see the project done in 2015 because construction costs will continue to rise, plus a completed Davis Street will only be more attractive for luring businesses. Trustee Lynn Pabst said it would be good to tie the project in with the facade committee’s efforts to help business owners beautify their storefronts.
Adams recommended letting for bids in late January or early February due to the amount of work that’s out there. He said many contractors are overloaded with work, and waiting to do a summer bid when fewer contractors are available may mean an even higher price tag. He told of one contractor he met recently who was the only bidder on three separate projects let in July. When only one person bids, sometimes a municipality is then stuck with a higher price tag than if there were competition.
Adams said he would also like to host a series of public informational meetings about the project, especially to hear business owners’ ideas and concerns. He also recommended the village form a committee to expedite the process, that can discuss issues such as lighting, bumpouts and aesthetics.
Trustee Wally Graf said it would be worth checking with the DOT to see if there are any benefits or detriments to tying the project in with the Exit 16 interchange construction in 2016. He also said he would prefer to do it in 2015 because he is worried about the roughly 100-year-old infrastructure of the street surviving another harsh winter.
Board members also agreed the project should have as early a start in the season as possible, in order to be finished before Heartland Days (the second weekend of August). Adams estimated a three-month time window for the entire project.
Trustees Laurie Gruber and Sandy Brecht and village attorney Tim Scott were absent from the meeting.